By Merle Rosenstein
The perfect playground for grown-ups, Las Vegas delivers non-stop entertainment, live sports action, spine tingling thrills and shopping that is second to none. Adrenalin-starved adults can find their favourite casino, set down some cash and wait for the big win. From car racing to dance clubs and from live concerts to magic shows, the options for grown-ups are endless.
But Vegas isn’t just for adults. With a multitude of palatial pools, animal acts, thrill rides, magic shows, museums and circus performers, kids will love Las Vegas too!
Here’s a sampling of some of what Las Vegas has to offer families.
Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower• Extreme rides include the Sling Shot, which sends riders soaring upwards and back down again; the Canyon Blaster, an indoor double-loop, double-corkscrew roller coaster; and Sand Pirates, an out of control pirate ship. The Park also has junior and family rides, an arcade, rock climbing and bungee jumping, bowling and clown shows.
• Visitors take an elevator 140 metres above the Strip to the top of the replica Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas. An elevator guide points out key landmarks along the way. An Eiffel Tower restaurant is located on the 11th Floor.
• The Roller Coaster at New York New York Hotel sends passengers soaring upwards 62 metres and then downwards 44 metres for a riveting ride.
• Four terrifying rides teeter at the top of the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower. Try the Skyjump, the highest controlled free fall in the world, the Insanity, a spin in the open air at a height of 274 metres, the X-Scream, a giant teeter-totter 264 metres above the ground, or the Big Shot, a humungous catapult.
• Families can test their wings at Vegas Indoor Skydiving, America’s first vertical wind tunnel. Similar to the experience of skydiving, Vegas Indoor Skydiving has the added safety of a trampoline floor and foam padded walls. The vertical wind tunnel supports the weight of an average adult.
LVCVA• The Freemont Street Experience is an entertainment venue hosting Viva Vision, the biggest screen on the planet with more than 12 million lights and 550,000 watts of concert quality sound. Shows are put on nightly. A pedestrian mall has two permanent performance stages. The Neon Museum preserves neon signs from old hotels. A zip line runs beneath the Viva Vision canopy.
• The Aquarium at the Silverton Hotel and Casino Lodge features free fish feeding shows. During each show, a staff marine biologist interacts with guests while feeding 4,200 tropical fish, stingrays, eels and sharks.
• Located in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation area, Bonnie Springs Ranch offers guided horseback riding seven days a week and has a zoo with native and non-native animals. The Bonnie Springs Outlaws perform for visitors in the Old Nevada Western Town.
• Cowboy Trail Rides takes visitors out onto the trails in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation area and offers barbeque dinners and Western entertainment.
• The Flamingo Resort’s Wildlife Habitat is home to a flock of live Chilean Flamingos, swans, ducks, Koi and turtles.
• At the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay visitors are transported to an undersea world featuring dangerous and unusual animals from the world’s tropical waters such as sharks sawfish and giant rays, endangered green sea turtles, piranha, jellies and the rare golden crocodile. More than 2,000 animals are displayed in six million litres of water.
• At Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat families will get up close and personal with white lions, white tigers, panthers, leopards, and Bottlenose Dolphins. Kids can be trainer for a day or take a Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat tour.
• The Las Vegas Natural History Museum covers dinosaurs, Egyptian treasures, animals of Africa, plants and animals of the Mojave Desert, marine life and geology.
• With over 100 interactive exhibits in science, arts and culture spread over two floors of fun, Lied Discovery Children’s Museum is one of the country’s largest Children’s Museums.
• M&M’s World has four floors full of M&M’s products and memorabilia from M&M’s dolls and alarm clocks to bathroom essentials, Monopoly, M&Ms in 22 colours and personalized M&Ms. A 3-D film I Left My M in Vegas can be seen in the M&M’s movie theatre. The fourth floor offers a close-up look at an M&M’s sponsored Toyota Camry race car.
• Madame Tussauds features more than 100 celebrity wax figures of pop stars, speed demons, cultural icons, political figures, sports heroes and TV stars.
• Built in the image of a storybook fortress with a drawbridge and moat, The Excalibur Hotel takes tourists back to the Middle Ages. Turreted towers, stone columns, wood paneling and candle chandeliers complete the picture. The Fun Dungeon holds carnival-style games. The huge pool area has a water slide and cabanas for parents. For evening entertainment there’s a Tournament of Kings with jousting and sword fighting and a three-course dinner to be eaten sans utensils.
• The Titanic Exhibit at the Luxor displays 300 artifacts and replicas from the ship including 20 artifacts never seen before. During the tour, staff share personal stories of passengers. Passengers receive a boarding pass of a passenger who was on the Titanic with the age and itinerary. At the end of the tour, guests find out whether the passenger survived.